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My HD is failing so I am going to exchange it. The only problem is: my old HD is the one that came with the machine, that means it is the one that contains that reserved partition with the Windows 7 Installer. Is there any way I could back it up and install it in my new HD?


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I'll suggest multiple ways:

Method 1: The Linux Way

Get a Live disk of any Linux OS. Boot into the Live CD.

Now make sure both the required hard drives are connected and identify the partitions on them by their block device ids.

Next open a terminal and type:

dd if=/dev/sdXY of=/dev/sdAB

Where sdXY is the block device id of the partition you wish to copy and sdAB is the block device id of the partition to which you want to copy.

In most cases, A and X will be different values. And You will be copying from sda1 to sdb1

Method 2: The Windows Way

Use GUI applications available for Windows.

DriveImage XML is a great application to use for this purpose. It runs from within Windows and it can copy directly from drive to drive. A lot of people rave about it after good experiences with the software.

DriveImage XML is an easy to use and reliable program for imaging and backing up partitions and logical drives.

Image creation uses Microsoft's Volume Shadow Services (VSS), allowing you to create safe "hot images" even from drives currently in use. Images are stored in XML files, allowing you to process them with 3rd party tools. Never again be stuck with a useless backup! Restore images to drives without having to reboot. DriveImage XML is now faster than ever, offering two different compression levels.

Method 3: A Bootable CD that does the job

EASEUS Disk Copy is a great alternative if you don't want to go for a 'hot' backup that runs from within Windows. Good review at lifehacker and on a par with DriveImage XML. They quite clearly state that it is ideal for moving from one disk to a larger one.

EASEUS Disk Copy is a potent freeware providing sector-by-sector disk/partition clone regardless of your operating system, file systems and partition scheme by creating a bootable CD. The sector-by-sector method assures you a copy 100% identical to the original. Disk Copy can be used for copy, cloning, or upgrading your original small hard drive to a new larger drive. Simply speaking, it can copy anything from the old hard drive including the deleted, lost files and inaccessible data. So, the freeware is a perfect tool for Data Recovery Wizard to recover files from a backup disk.

EDIT: Regarding your question on how to connect both HD's together. I am assuming both are internal drives. Most motherboards today come with multiple SATA interfaces that allow you to connect 2 or 3 drives to the system simultaneously. However, this is mostly applicable only to desktops.

In case of a laptop, you have two options:

  • There are converters available in the market that allow you to connect your SATA drives through a USB port

  • You first transfer the partition to a USB stick large enough, replace the drive and then transfer back.

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How would I connect both HDs? – JSBach Aug 10 '12 at 15:57
@Oscar: Answer edited to reflect your concern – darnir Aug 10 '12 at 16:07
The second idea looks interesting :) thanks! I will try during the weekend and give you some feedback! – JSBach Aug 10 '12 at 16:08

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